Sep 132014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/07/06MANILA2831.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA2831 2006-07-06 08:21 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO0097
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2831/01 1870821
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 060821Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1880
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002831

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINS PGOV MARR RP
SUBJECT: POSSIBLE COURTS MARTIAL FOR FEBRUARY 24 “COUP PLOTTERS”

REF: A. MANILA 0852

¶B. MANILA 0830

¶1. (SBU) Summary: A committee investigating an alleged
failed February 24 coup d’etat may soon recommend that at
least three senior military officers and perhaps dozens of
junior officers face military courts on charges ranging from
conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman to mutiny and
sedition. Malacanang welcomed the investigation and asserted
that evidence against the officers vindicates President
Arroyo’s decision to declare a State of National Emergency in
response to the alleged plot. If the AFP moves forward with
these charges, it will be a novel effort to hold even senior
military officers accountable for destabilization plots
within their command. End Summary.

———————————-
Leaked Report Hints at New Charges
———————————-

¶2. (U) Since April, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
Inspector General Rear Admiral Rufino Lopez has led a
fact-finding committee to make recommendations to AFP Chief
of Staff General Generoso Senga on possible disciplinary
action against AFP officers in connection with the alleged
plot that led to the declaration of a State of National
Emergency on June 24 (ref B). Lopez said on July 4 that his
committee had not yet concluded its investigation, but the
local media has quoted from what appears to be a leaked
advance version. According to these reports, the
recommendation will be to file charges in courts martial
ranging from conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman to
mutiny and sedition against then-Marines commandant Major
General Renato Miranda, Brigadier General Danilo Lim of the
Philippine Army (Scout Rangers), and Colonel Ariel Querubin
of the Philippine Marines. The committee may also recommend
charges against approximately 35 other officers from the
Philippine Marines and Philippine Army.

¶3. (U) A major television network also aired in its evening
news on July 3 a 10-minute video clip showing BG Lim, flanked
by several officers, declaring o/a February 23 that he was
withdrawing his support from an “unconstitutional” and
“bogus” president. Rumors of the existence of this video
have been in circulation since February 24, when it
apparently would have aired had Lim succeeded in securing
broader support within the AFP. Earlier media reports,
including a controversial Time magazine article, had already
linked Lim not only to such military intrigue but also to
opposition politicians and other alleged coup plotters. One
former ambassador on July 5 publicly claimed the Lim-backed
plot had in February had enjoyed widespread support from
private citizens, including those who would have served on a
“transition council” to take over after President Arroyo’s
ouster.

———————————
Malacanang Welcomes Investigation
———————————

¶4. (U) Malacanang has publicly welcomed the AFP’s move to
investigate those involved in the February 24 coup attempt.
According to Presidential chief of staff Michael Defensor,
“the arrests and investigation of these officials who stray
from the Constitution and the law is the proper strong
response.” Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye separately
said that the release of the video tape “vindicated” the
President in declaring a state of national emergency.

——————————
Officers Ready to Face Charges
——————————

¶5. (U) Major General Miranda, who stepped down as Marine
Commandant on February 26, told the media that he and other
senior AFP officers are ready to submit themselves to
investigation and court martial. He noted that being charged
does not constitute guilt, but is part of the due process
that would give him an opportunity to clear his name.
Meanwhile, Opposition Senators Panfilo Lacson and Rodolfo
Biazon, whom media reports alleged as part of the coup
plotters’ planned transition government, denied any
involvement.

——-
Comment
——-

MANILA 00002831 002 OF 002

¶6. (SBU) General Senga may be reluctant to make such a major
decision during the last days of his tenure as Chief of
Staff; it took him months to sign off even on the court
martial conviction in December of former Comptroller General
Carlos Garcia. But should the AFP proceed with these courts
martial, either under Senga or his still-unnamed successor,
it would mark a real departure from previous practice,
whereby senior officers either did not face charges or
received amnesty after coup attempts. Most recently, no one
above the rank of captain faced prosecution following the
failed 2003 “Oakwood Mutiny.” However, one senior Marine
general noted privately that the charges against the Marine
officers would likely not pan out, since “we did not move
troops,” in sharp contrast to what he admitted were the troop
movements of the Scout Rangers under the command of BG Lim on
the eve of February 24.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/

Kenney

   

 

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